Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepares for an interview in New York City. Photo: Reuters / Brendan McDermid

Turkey posted encouraging growth numbers for 2016 at the end of last month, but the numbers have rekindled a debate about the reliability of Turkish data.

Al-Monitor reports that the majority of Turkish economists question the credibility of numbers put out by the Turkish Statistical Institute. The GDP data is out of sync with key economic data, with perhaps the most striking inconsistency being the unemployment rate, which is rising quickly despite the reported economic growth. Critics point to a new calculation method that sources data from government bureaucracies, as opposed to industry production surveys.

For his part, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has added the better than expected numbers to his list of talking points ahead of this month’s referendum, which will decide whether the country’s executive is awarded sweeping new powers. Whether or not the new numbers are simply masking the economic reality, they are certainly a useful tool for Erdoğan to increase his power.

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